Vita Basilii

Name of text: Vita Basilii
Author of text: Anon
Date of text: 10th century
Date of person in text: ruled 866-886
Name of structure in text: Kainourgion (the New Hall), Imperial Palace
Type of structure in text: palace
Date of structure in text
Century of structure 1:
Century of structure 2:
Country in text: Asia Minor
Region in text:
City in text: Constantinople
Specific place of mosaic in text: ceiling
Description of mosaic in text: In the space above the columns up to the very ceiling and in the eastern semi-dome the whole building has been covered with beautiful golden mosaic cubes.  […] Again, in the ceiling above are depicted the Herculean labours of the emperor: his efforts on behalf of his subjects, his exertions in warlike struggles, and the victories granted to him by God; by which, as the sky <is> by stars *** there rises the most splendid bedchamber. […] The walls on either side are covered with many-hued panels of glass, and thus seem adorned with flowers of various shapes. Above these panels runs another ornament, speckled with god, which seems to separate that which is above from that which is below. Next, there comes another delight made of golden cubes, showing the emperor, the creator of the building, and his spouse Eudokia enthroned and decked out in imperial robes and crowned with diadems.  The children shared by the couple are depicted all around the chamber as if they were bright stars; they too are resplendent in imperial robes and diadems.  Of these, the males are shown holding books containing the Holy Commandments that they had been brought up to obey; the female offspring as well are seen holding certain books containing Divine Laws.  […] These are the beauties that the four sections of walls contain up to the very ceiling.  The ceiling of this bedchamber does not stand up and rise upwards, as it were, but rests on the walls in the fashion of a square.  Throughout it glistens and glitters with gold; in its very centre, it displays the victorious cross, outlined in green glass.  Around the cross, you can see the emperor of glorious memory himself, his spouse and all their children; they shine like stars in the heavens, stretch out their hands towards God and the life-giving sign of the cross […] There is also contained an inscription addressed to God, and offering Him the thanks of the parents on behalf of their children and, again, those of the children on behalf of their parents. [text gives these inscriptions in full].
Mosaic date in text: 9 AD
Tesserae silver mentioned in text? No
Tesserae gold mentioned in text? Yes
Colour descriptions in text:

Chronographiae quae Theophanis Continuati Nomine Fertur Liber quo Vita Basilii Imperatoris Amplectitur, trans by Ihor Šev?enko (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2011), 89, pp. 288-295

Mango, Cyril, The Art of the Byzantine Empire 312-1453 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1986), pp. 196-8



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